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Editor's Memo: PAINWeek Going Forward Together

October 2014

>PAINWeek, the five-day pain meeting held this past September, has gone beyond being just a pain educators’ conference. Clearly, it has become a statement that the entire field of pain management is committed to the relief of pain—regardless of approaches, beliefs, and disagreements.

Some 6 years ago, PAINWeek started as a group of a few hundred practitioners assembling in Las Vegas for a few days. Since then, the conference attendance has steadily grown. In the first week of September, 2,200 pain treatment professionals and supporters migrated to the Cosmopolitan Hotel on the Vegas Strip to attend PAINWeek. This attendance far exceeds that of every other pain-centered conference. In many ways, PAINWeek is a showy, glamorous event, with colors, pictures (including spectacular collages of colleagues), and news releases—a week long show with education for all!

Of great importance was that the American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Pain Society, law enforcement, veterans groups, and patient advocates were all there to present a session or track of information. Just about every conceivable therapeutic approach was represented. The general tenor, as far as I could tell, was one indicating that all treatment modalities have their place. Underneath the glitz and glamour, however, was a most serious message: We’re in this pain world together, and our patients are going to benefit from a multidisciplinary approach.

Interestingly, this meeting had a lot of hard, clinical science. Many posters and presentations were based on sound, clinical research. We highlight some of this research in Meeting Highlights column this month, with a roundup of some of the topics discussed at PAINWeek.

This memo is dedicated to the organizers and leaders of PAINWeek. We thank you. The education the conference provided was truly outstanding, but the coming together of so many disparate groups was the highlight. It tells us something important: Collectively, we can help a lot of suffering people.

Pain and understanding also is a theme in this issue of Practical Pain Management. Kern A. Olson, PhD, discusses the interrelationship between pain and sleep, including studies that have shown that poor sleep patterns can predict the development of chronic pain conditions later in life.

Did you know that more than 20 million people in the US have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and that 70% of patients report experiencing pain related to their disease? This presents a challenge to clinicians treating this at-risk patient population, as they seek to determine what analgesics are safe to prescribe in someone with impaired renal function. A follow-up to last month’s review of appropriate dosing of analgesics for dialysis patients, this month’s review provides a practical guide to analgesic selection and dosing for patients with chronic kidney disease.

There also is an interesting Case Challenge of a woman who developed intense itching and pain in the middle of her back. Can you make the diagnosis?

Tiz Marovino, DPT, presents a wonderful and practical review of electromagnetic devices, comparing 10 of his favorite devices based on ease of use, patient acceptance, cost effectiveness, and research. This is a terrific review for anyone interesting in incorporating a non-medical approach to myofascial and musculoskeletal pain and peripheral neuropathies.

Like PAINWeek, this issue of Practical Pain Management emphasizes the need for practitioners to think out of the box, using all the tools in our tool box, to help patients with chronic pain.

Forest Tennant, MD, DrPH

Editor in Chief

Last updated on: May 18, 2015
First published on: October 1, 2014